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Reunion in Riga

My visit is Europe is getting closer to it’s end – and for that I’m glad. What makes me even more glad, is that this stop was not a typical backpacker / tourist / traveler stop, since a good old friend from Norway visited me – or should I say; good new friend.

I would guess this is the stop so far with the least culture, history, exercise, hiking, photography etc. but I really didn’t mind. Not at all. Sometimes, and especially now lately, I’ve struggled to find energy to take photos and I actually think it’s because of the  destinations. I’ve said it before and say it again; Europe is the least adventurous continent. So then it was perfect with a weekend of socializing!

A guy I met at my last employer came to visit me in Riga this weekend and it was hilarious fun. Just stroll around, eat, drink, prank, people-watch and of course; share gossip of people back home (everyone does that, don’t even try!). It’s funny somehow that some of the people you connect best with; you meet somewhat late in life. Growing up in a very remote place, I couldn’t really choose my friends – since there were very few children living out there. I had to stick with the few “nearby” and with nearby I mean 4 kilometers of mostly uphill by bicycle. Eventually when I moved to town for high school, I had so many people within short distance so I could choose who I wanted to spend my time with or not. In that way I could spend time and build bonds with the ones I really had a chemistry with – and also people more like myself.  There I met some of the best friends in my life – and we still are. But also, it’s nice when you are 29 and a “new” person enters your life and becomes a truly good friend.

One more “civilized” stop coming up and then I’m finally off for some adventures again. Can’t wait!

Vilnius – the capital of Lithuscandinavia

Even though the Baltic states are just an hour flight away from home for me, I’ve never been to any of them – other than a transit but that doesn’t really count. After Prague with lovely visitors from home (mom, Nisse and my best friend) I set aim for the capital in Lithuania – or should I say; Lithuscandinavia.

Outside of Scandinavia, this is by far the place that reminded me the most of home when it comes to how it looked – both nature and architecture. There were also Swedish and some Norwegian brands and companies everywhere: Swedbank, SEB, Telia, Nordea, DNB, Narvesen and of course the obvious H&M, IKEA etc. so that also contributed to the home-feeling. I don’t know if it’s only me, actually don’t think so, but when we Scandinavians think of the Baltic states we often think of them as poor old “Soviet bloc” countries known for two things: cheap and ugly! Cheap it was, but far from ugly. Vilnius has a very cosy and good looking old town and city centre. I would say it’s a really good destination for a weekend getaway!

To be honest, there are not many things that I’ve missed at home (besides family and friends) – the only thing is probably the winter sports snowboarding and cross-country skiing. Besides those two activities, I don’t really fancy the winter. The summer in the nordic countries however, is the best in the world when the weather gods are on your side which unfortunately don’t happen too often. In Vilnius they were though, so I could enjoy some late summer nights with sunsets around 10.30 PM and that reminded me of the Swedish summers when you can be out all day (and night). Without even knowing it, I had for sure missed this. But since it’s been winter there hasn’t been much to miss in a way.

A good thing about traveling in Europe is that everything is so close and easy to get too. A couple of low-cost airlines in combination with buses and trains makes it easy, cheap and fast. Next up will be Riga, where I’m about to get my 4th visit from home on this trip. Excited? Indeed!

Bored in Bratislava

Within the last two days before going to Bratislava, two friends of mine said that it’s a pretty boring city basically because there is not much to do there. They couldn’t have been more right, but at the same time; doing nothing is sometimes a great activity – especially for a globe trotter going high and low all the time.

When I say it’s boring, it doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Because the people were nice, it’s cheap, it has a charming old town, very relaxed, everything within walking distance, good food, pretty high standards and it felt very safe. So in many ways a nice place, but not just any big cool attractions or nice nature nearby. I guess it’s a nice place to live, but if I will go on a weekend trip with either guys or a future girl (#ForeverSingle) I probably would not go here.

When I sat in a cafe, actually working on a blogpost a local guy 25 year old started talking to me. First he asked if I was backpacking – which was pretty obvious since I had my bags with me. Then he asked me if I had a travel blog, which I as you know by know I do, but I never really promote it. So we started t0 talk a lot about traveling and he really wanted to do something like what I’m doing now as well – and if you by any chance read this; do it! As I told you, you won’t regret. And if there is anyone else reading this thinking of taking a break from the every day life in order to travel; do it! Now I’ve almost been away for 10 months, so traveling is and has been my every day life for a while – and it feels great. I can’t remember last time I was stressed or worried about something. No, I’ve not smoked anything now or turned a hippie but I must say I’m really in harmony with myself. In one way I’m perhaps more lost in terms of where in the world I want to live and settle, since I’ve seen so many nice places and many of them are tempting to live in. At the same time; you don’t know what you have until it’s gone – and home is also very important to me. Time will tell what I’ll do after this trip is over, at the moment I’m very open minded and it feels great. Maybe I’ll go back home and trade stocks, maybe I’ll do a season in the Alps snowboarding or go to Costa Rica to improve my surfing skills and live the “pure vida life” for a while.

Speaking of home by the way. My next destination is Prague and that means it’s the closest I’ve been to home on the entire trip. Just a little more than an hour away. Feels fun in a way, but what feels even better, is the fact that I’ll get some people from home visiting me in Prague – and I can’t wait to see them.